Lotus Elan

Hello.. and question

PostPost by: vico » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:17 pm

I've lurked here and there over the years.. wonderful forum. In the interests of transparency, I had previously had a user name of "jlr" but had login problems, perhaps because I have not been here in a while.

Currently own an Alfa 4C but still have the bug for an Elan and am thinking of beginning an earnest search for one -- S3, S/E, S4 I think and I'm partial to the dhc but I do love the lines of the fhc. I almost bought a beautiful yellow 69 S4 (Tom Roberds' car) about ten years ago but passed on it (regret)..

So these two cars stand out to me from Hemmings, been for sale for a while so perhaps passed over for a reason or another. I don't know of the sellers' reputation but any kind of input might be helpful as to what to be wary of.

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/de ... 25159.html

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/de ... 66479.html

I'm always a bit cautious when there is little mention of the history of the car's restoration, at least in general terms. I've never owned a car this old, so I'm a bit nervous but I think if I can identify a good candidate it will be worth at least a trip to see and drive, to at least get the search underway. I've learned a little from hanging out here from time to time but I think the search itself really help in my education.

Thanks for any feedback
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:22 pm

For me these are good weather cars, though I did drive an S3 DHC through a winter before I knew better, so I prefer the DHC and roadsters. I have had both but I find I prefer a 360 degree view on a sunny day. Both of these cars have had a number of corners cut: trunk hinges bolted, dash door that doesn't fit, twisted gauge, wrong bolts, and wrong paint on valve cover. That doesn't mean that they are bad cars, but it makes one wonder what is hidden beneath... I have seen better restored (by members here) cars sell for significantly less in the last year. Having said that these cars do both have fairly good bodies, and neither looks (on the surface) like it would take a lot to put it right. It is sometimes good to just jump in and fix whatever it needs and start enjoying your drive. Prices will catch up. "Life is short. Eat dessert first"
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PostPost by: pharriso » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:22 pm

Phil Harrison
1972 Elan Sprint 0260K
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PostPost by: S2Jay » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:12 pm

Just a bit curious & confused.....

The first red car in Hemmings has toggle switches in the dash. Did some early S3 cars have both power windows & toggle switches? And were the windows actually controlled via the toggles switches in the dash?

The title only calls this car a 1966 Elan SE, with no mention of "S3" or other model info. The somewhat complex VIN assigned does suggest that this is a Type 45 car.

I have only seen S3 & later cars with power windows & rocker switches.
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just looking for clues at the scene of the crime....
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PostPost by: Maxwell » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:21 pm

To my understanding, the few differences between sub-models are inconsistent from other sub-models. As a general guideline, I believe the S3 is listed as having toggle switches, and the S4 having rocker switches. And yes, the power window controls are assigned to the dash.
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PostPost by: vico » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:50 pm

I have a collection of old road test articles on the Elan and there is a R&T piece on the 1966 Elan SE, which confused me as well. I assumed it was an S3 with the SE package which adds the different final drive.
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PostPost by: elancoupe » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:19 pm

Very early S3 FHC's had window switches on the door cards.
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PostPost by: billwill » Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:57 pm

My 67 S3 Coupe (which was possibly an SE too), has always had toggle switches and power windows.

And were the windows actually controlled via the toggles switches in the dash?


Yes!.
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36/6725 S3 Coupe OGU108E Yellow over Black.
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PostPost by: vico » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:35 am

Is there a relatively straightforward explanation of the VIN numbering system, as well as the chassis and body numbers for Elans, and its relation to the body/chassis/engine numbers as well? I did a brief search and the results were, er, a little muddled..
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:15 am

my 1965 S3 (36/4982) has the preperations for the door switches BUT they moved them to the dash AND my dash doesn't have any lucas toggle switches they are all the same product as the window switches and are much easier to keep nice or "unclouded"!! - those rockers are a pain in the neck! sandy
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PostPost by: trw99 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:59 am

Vico, I can run you through it all but it might be better if I write up an article to post here for the future. Meanwhile, please do contact me and I'll be able to help.

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PostPost by: vico » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:05 pm

Vico, I can run you through it all but it might be better if I write up an article to post here for the future. Meanwhile, please do contact me and I'll be able to help.


Hey, that's great.. I'll wait for that then! I obviously have a bit of homework to do.. Once I get a handle on VIN's I think I'll need to check with the local DMV to see their procedure on older cars; you cannot take too much for granted.

Another question pertains to the Elans with a new chassis, which quite a few cars appear to have. I'm leaning towards wanting a car with an original chassis, but I would not rule anything out. I'm guessing Spyder makes most if not all of these. I imagine there's a lively debate here on this issue, but what about weight -- how does the original compare to the original?
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:48 pm

My S3 DHC's both had toggle window lift switches in the lower part of the dash. Very early Elans (and many other cars) were registered under their chassis numbers. Lotus began applying "Unit" numbers (which was basically a production order number) fairly early on, first scribbled on the side of the factory number plate riveted onto the body, and then in a separate box on a revised style of number plate riveted to the body. These didn't match the chassis numbers at first as chassis were sold as replacements and also built into cars out of sequence). Early "VIN" numbers for S1 and S2 Elans (roadsters) started with 26/ XXXX with the XXXX running generally in sequence. While S2 Elan roadsters were still in production, the Coupe was introduced (early 1966?) and given the factory type code of type 36. The first two digits digits changed to (type) 36 for the Fixed Head Coupe (FHC). Chassis and Unit numbers continued in sequence with the prefix (type number) changing as appropriate. The first two digits were switched to (type) 45 for the S3 Drop Head Coupe (which replaced the S2 roadster production around late 1966 I believe). The four "XXXX" numbers run generally in sequence (ish) through type 26, and type 36 and type 45. Some cars were registered under their chassis numbers while other cars were registered under their Unit number. There was a bit of a reset around 3XXX to get better allignment between chassis numbers and Unit numbers. Later in the S4 build they started applying much longer VIN numbers in an attempt to standardize with other manufacturers and country's systems. There are other threads on this site which talk about this in more detail. If you search "Poduction Number Questions" (note the typo in the heading) you will find a discussion there.
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PostPost by: vico » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:35 pm

Thanks for the info on unit numbers...So, on the S3 and early S4's I'm looking at 6 digit numbers, first two being type (i.e., 45 etc.). .
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:19 am

my lil punk has a handwritten original plate from norfolk (36 / 4982) and the original chassis as added. this piece of sheet metal never saw any wet weather and got a 2 layer zinc coating in 1981 - all switches same product sandy
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